These last two weeks I have been settling into this little pine forest at the edge of the meadow, where our primitive camp is located. It was a surprisingly long adjustment.
All of my fellow clan mates have been furiously working on our buckskin clothes. We have two weeks to complete our full on outfits for the prehistoric project. I finished my “day shirt” which feels a bit more like an over coat. I’m more worried about getting cold than I am about staying warm. I have a raccoon hat that I may add ear covers to. I need to complete some pants, my raccoon fur vest, moccasins, rabbit hide mittens, a wool scarf and maybe even a wool vest to go under the raccoon vest. In order to get away from people and do our thing, we’ll be heading high into the mountains where it is cold. I hate the cold. This will be a great test to me, but really with the proper gear primitive or modern, cold should not bother us.
Cooking around the campfire for three weeks now has been really fun. It’s been so long since my boy scout days that it’s taken me a little bit of time to remember all the tricks like cooking on the coals, using stones to hold up pots and tripods to hang pots from. It’s all so obvious I’m a little embarrassed that I have forgotten so much. I’d really like to experiment with a stone rocket stove. I’m looking forward to our container making class when we will make clay pots for cooking in. On the project, this is all we will be cooking in.
My stomach got pretty fucked up when we moved camps over the last weekend and I didn’t have a good woodsy kitchen set up. I’ve devised a plan for cooking bone broth, which is basically just having a pot on or near the fire at all times. It gets cold enough at night that I don’t worry about it spoiling, and I try to keep it cooking most of the day as we work on projects. I won’t be able to bring broth on the project, but I think the food will all be things that I can eat so there won’t really be a need for it. Although, if we kill animals we’ll be able to use there bones and make some broth, or just eat the bones.
At home, I’m used to just getting fresh meats from the store on a regular basis. Moving out here was difficult at first because there is no refrigeration and trips to town are so rare. We have dug holes to create “root cellars” of sorts and I have put a sealed 5 gallon bucket in it to keep the critters out. It works the same as a refrigerator and stays about as cold as one. Ideally we’ll be slaughtering a couple goats and drying the meat. I’d also love to learn to can meats, which is something I don’t know much about. I’m missing a huge skill set of food preservation. I’m learning a lot more up here besides primitive crafting skills. Just these wilderness camp skills that I have forgotten or didn’t know are priceless. For the project we’ll be bringing along lots of dried wild foods, so part of this process is learning the best ways to preserve things primitively.
We have to haul in our water to camp. There is a spring but it’s really funky and not drinkable. We use it to wash dishes and hands mostly. It’s not two far from the main camp. We carry buckets up and down a few times a day. We get our potable drinking water from the lodge that is on the land about a mile away or so. I really enjoy carrying the water. At first I was annoyed that we weren’t closer to water, but now I really enjoy the physical workout of hauling water, either in buckets or on the cart. For the project aspect, we’ll be drinking from springs directly up higher in the mountains.
Life here is pretty easy. If I keep to my diet for the most part, get enough sleep and water, life feels good. We basically craft all day. I’ll post a blog with my clothes once I finish all of them.